The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. MONDAY, MAY 1, 1882. Our Public Library.
[lssued at 540 p. m. j
We shall not offer any apology to our readers for returning once more to the subject of a Library site, for the question is one of much public importance, and cannot be too freely ventilated before definite action is taken respecting the position finally selected for the new Library. We must conf. ss that we are very much dissatisfied with the result of the last meeting of the Library committee, at which a resolution was passed to the effect that the Borough Council should be asked to obtain a portion of the reserve behind Baring Square west for building purposes. We are dissatisfied with this decision of the Committee, because we fail to see that the locality indicated in the resolution quoted, is in any respect better adapted as a site for a public building of daily and hourly resort like a reading-room and Library, than the old site in Tancred street west, and we are quite sure that our dissatisfaction is shared by nearly the whole of the residents of the town and district. It is, in short, the all but unanimous wish of the people ot Ashburton that a central site shall be selected for their Library, and no better spot could possibly be found for the building than Baring Square east. The objections urged against the utilisation of this excellent site are simply ridiculous, and are positively entitled to no consideration at all. We are told by the two or three objector; that if the Library is erected in Baring Square east, a dangerous precedent will be established which will infallibly be followed by the sacrifice ol the rest of the reserve to bricks and mortar, or worse still, to wood and corrugated iron, in the shape of grain stores and other business premises. Surely the grumblers must be very hard pressed for an objection when they have to fall upon such a foolish one as this. The difference between the ' erection on a small portion of the reserve of a public institution for intellectual and recreative purposes and the erection of a row of unsightly grain stores designed for individual benefit, is really too great to require comment. It must be patent to all but the determinedly pig-headed and obstinate, bent on ignoring the wish of the majority, and intent only on having their own way. The matter will no doubt crop up at tonight’s meeting of the Borough Council, and we trust the City Fathers will not listen for a moment to the Library Committee’s suggestion advocating the erection of the Library in a spot where it will, for all practical purposes, be of no public benefit at all. Should the pig-headed ones succeed in carrying out their ideas, and persist in building a Library where it will neither be seen nor patronised, a split in the camp, as our correspondent “ Argus” points out in this issue, will be the inevitable result. The centralists will band themselves together to secure their object, and they will attain it —if two Public Libraries are run up. For our part we think it would be well if the Borough Council were to hold over their decision in the matter of site until a public meeting is called, at which the vote of the majority might be taken on the question. This would undoubtedly be the fairest way of settling the difficulty. The subscribers to (he Library certainly did not manifest much interest in the affairs of the judging by the meagre attendance at the last annual general meeting; but we are satisfied that if a public meeting were now held to decide the question of site it would be very largely attended, for the matter is exciting much attention at the present juncture. At all events the question is a public and not a private one; the Libraiy is intended for general and not individual use, and it therefore behoves the public to take the matter up and not to be dictated to by two or three obstructionists.